Tape measure for small measurements?

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Forum topic by pashley posted 08-02-2010 02:07 PM 1837 views 0 times favorited 24 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1030 posts in 2563 days

08-02-2010 02:07 PM

Topic tags/keywords: tape

Is it just me that gets a bit frustrated with tape measures?

If you want to make a small measurement with the ususal tape measure, say, 5/8s, you can’t, because the dang hook at the beginning of the tape hides almost the whole first inch! The rivets that hold on the hook don’t help either.

I understand the companies are trying to make a tough hook stay attached to the end, but do they need to make it useless for small measurements?

-- Have a blessed day!

24 replies so far

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


15530 posts in 2521 days

#1 posted 08-02-2010 02:10 PM

You have to burn an inch with those small measurements. Start at the 1 inch line and go from there, the hook won’t be in the way:-)

-- "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View JJohnston's profile


1613 posts in 2136 days

#2 posted 08-02-2010 02:12 PM

For less risk of a misread, I prefer to burn 10 inches. That way the second digit of my new zero is….zero. I also use a precision 6” ruler.

-- "A man may conduct himself well in both adversity and good fortune, but if you want to test his character, give him power." - Abraham Lincoln

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


15530 posts in 2521 days

#3 posted 08-02-2010 02:15 PM

I burn inches off the tape on both ends, going every which direction, depending on what I am measuring or trying to figure out. :-))

-- "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View rhett's profile


699 posts in 2512 days

#4 posted 08-02-2010 02:22 PM

If its under 12” I dont bother to use a tape. Combination square is my go to

-- It's only wood.

View CampD's profile


1234 posts in 2331 days

#5 posted 08-02-2010 02:24 PM

If your in the shop, steel machinests ruler is best.
I have 6” ones placed at the assembly bench & table saw, little magnets keep them in place
so they dont get lost like pencils.

-- Doug...

View pvwoodcrafts's profile


227 posts in 2767 days

#6 posted 08-02-2010 02:34 PM

I keep a steel center rule and folding rule close by

-- mike & judy western md. www.

View tyskkvinna's profile


1308 posts in 1831 days

#7 posted 08-02-2010 03:21 PM

I have 6” calipers – if it will fit in the calipers, I use them to measure it, not a tape. It’s worked pretty well for me so far.

-- Lis - Michigan - -

View Mark Shymanski's profile

Mark Shymanski

5153 posts in 2558 days

#8 posted 08-02-2010 03:42 PM

For those short measures I use a steel rule as well, usually the tape measure is too scuffed up on that first inch to read clearly anyway…maybe I just need to take better care of my tapes LOL!

-- "Checking for square? What madness is this! The cabinet is square because I will it to be so!" Jeremy Greiner LJ Topic#20953 2011 Feb 2

View Sawkerf's profile


1730 posts in 1914 days

#9 posted 08-02-2010 03:47 PM

As handy as they are, tape measures really aren’t intended for really precise work. Those hooks are designed to stand up under pretty severe use where tolerances aren’t really tight.

-- Adversity doesn't build reveals it.

View PurpLev's profile


8476 posts in 2494 days

#10 posted 08-02-2010 03:51 PM

why use a tape for such small measurements- the tap itself will be in the way more than the hook… just use a ruler/square

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View TheWoodNerd's profile


288 posts in 2037 days

#11 posted 08-02-2010 04:16 PM

My very favorite measuring tape of all time –

-- The Wood Nerd --

View pashley's profile


1030 posts in 2563 days

#12 posted 08-02-2010 06:25 PM

I like a small tape ruler, because I do small projects, but occasionally like to measure up to 8 feet or so. I like this Johnson one – it has a lot of great features, especially the clear hook piece. I just wish it wasn’t so huge; I like to keep my tape in my little apron pocket, and this wouldn’t be a good fit. Nice tape though, otherwise.

Steel rulers are nice, yes, but I don’t think they come with an edge hook for easy measurement?

Maybe I ought to invent the ultimate woodworker (as opposed to carpenter) tape ruler, make a million bucks, and retire in Tahiti?

-- Have a blessed day!

View CampD's profile


1234 posts in 2331 days

#13 posted 08-02-2010 07:44 PM

Yes they have ones with edge hooks.

-- Doug...

View closetguy's profile


744 posts in 2737 days

#14 posted 08-02-2010 09:15 PM

I use a 12” steel, center finder ruler that’s marked in 1/16”. It’s heavily used in my shop every day.

-- I don't make mistakes, only design

View David Craig's profile

David Craig

2135 posts in 1954 days

#15 posted 08-03-2010 04:54 AM

For small measurements, I use my 6 inch combination square, 12 inch for the slightly larger projects. When I am working on a cut list, I prefer a wooden, fold out ruler and a saddle layout gauge. If I am using the jointer/planer, calipers are pretty much a necessity. I have learned, over time, that my tape measure is nearly an 8th off on measurements if I use the hook. As others have stated, I usually start at the one foot marker for longer measurements and subtract a foot to zero in a little more accurately.


-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.

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